Lifestyle

Medical pot patient wants his stuff back

A medical marijuana patient who was recently found not guilty of criminal charges returned the Kitsap County Courthouse on Tuesday to reclaim confiscated property, but several large greenhouse items were not returned.

Bruce Olson, of Olalla, received his verdict in March at which time all charges were dismissed.

He pegged the value of the equipment at around $3,000 and said he planned to seek reimbursement for the lost equipment.

The equipment includes four ballast machines, which are used for indoor plant cultivation, along with two machines that remove mold and odors from the air.

The equipment is often used in marijuana grow operations but is not exclusive to them, according to Cannabis Defense Coalition spokesperson Pam Haley.

Olson was told the equipment had been destroyed and he did not expect it to be returned.

Haley said police departments routinely destroy such confiscated equipment in these cases.

Olson visited the courthouse accompanied by his wife, Pamela, who faced similar charges last year, Haley, and paralegal Kayleen Bystrom.

Olson had an appointment with property clerk Brian Bocherding, who had testified at Olson’s trial.

Bocherding returned the items that were on a predetermined list, which included paperwork and photographs.

The equipment was not on the list.

“These are documents that he can legally return to you,” Bystrom said to Olson. “We will need to talk to (attorney) Tom (Balerud) about getting the rest. Brian doesn’t have control over what you are getting here.”

Also not returned was 19 pounds of medicinal marijuana, which was presented in the courtroom as evidence.

Olson found it necessary at this point to argue this point with Bocherding.

“I don’t get my 19 pounds back?” Olson said.

“No sir,” Bocherding said.

“Why not?” Olson said. “It’s mine.”

“Sir, if you remember, it was really moldy,” Bocherding responded. “It would be dangerous for you to have that.”

“It’s mine.” Olson said again.

“Like I said, we are going by this,” Bocherding said, pointing to the property list. “I am only supposed to give you back legally returnable items.”

“I don’t understand that part of the law,” Olson said to Bystrom, and the camera. “I can understand not getting the moldy marijuana, but not the equipment, which is legal and can be purchased at stores.”

After the meeting Bocherding escorted Olson to the County Clerks’ office to retrieve other defense exhibits, including a 3-foot square picture of one of Olson’s plants.

Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Earl Smith said he was not sure which items had been destroyed or kept in storage. He plans to meet with the prosecuting attorney to determine what Olson is entitled to have returned to him.

“We will review the items with the prosecutor to see what it is legal for him to possess,” Smith said. “If it is legal, we will return the items if they have not been destroyed.”

Smith said there were other possible options, and that Olson can obtain a court order for return of the property.

Olson said he and his wife plan to leave the state when the matter is resolved.

Pam Olson, who is also a medical marijuana patient, is no longer able to withstand the cold winters.

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